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Changing setup to a DSLR?


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#1 kun1

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 11:18 AM

I'm tired of lugging my big Amphibico housing and all its accessories through international airports, not to mention the excess baggage fee's. I'm going to be doing a lot of travelling this year so i'm going to be switching to something smaller, problem being i dont want to sacrifice picture quality.

Most of the handycam type camcorders seem to produce video quality that i just wouldn't be happy with. I've seen a lot of video by the Canon 5D MII and i'm blown away by it to be honest, it easily produces better image quality than what im shooting with right now in the right hands. And checking out the weight of the housing/camera it comes in at about 4kg compared to the 15kg or so that my Amphibico housing weighs.. Thats a big plus.

Only problem is i'm just getting to grips with filming with a camcorder would switching over to a DSLR cause me some issues? I'm only interested in video. I feel i'm getting comfortable shooting in manual with the camcorder is it completely different using a DSLR. I know pretty much nothing about DSLR's.

Also its becoming a arduous chore getting parts and services for the camcorder and housing here in the UK, its getting a bit dated now. I'm thinking the 5D MKii will be around for a good few years yet?

#2 HDVdiver

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 12:49 AM

I'm tired of lugging my big Amphibico housing and all its accessories through international airports, not to mention the excess baggage fee's. I'm going to be doing a lot of travelling this year so i'm going to be switching to something smaller, problem being i dont want to sacrifice picture quality.



The good news is you can have it both ways now with the exceptional video quality that some VidDSLRs are capable of. The choice of options is now considerable and good housings are available for most of the cameras worth considering. Personally I am very happy with the capabilities of a firmware modified GH2...but there are other cameras to select from.

It's not a question of sacrificing picture quality since the better VidDSLRs can produce superb video image quality. It's more an issue of adapting your shooting technique to maintain good stability when using a lightweight housing...which is ergonomically different to a larger, conventional u.w. video system.

#3 Drew

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 03:24 AM

The 5D2 has been replaced by the 5D3. I'm not sure how long stock will be available for new ones. I've found dead pixels after 3 years with both of mine. Then again I found dead pixels with my 5D3 too!

I suggest you go with the 7D or 60D, better choice of lenses for wide and cheaper. FF is nice but for macro is a lot more problematic.

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#4 Davide DB

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:27 AM

I suggest you go with the 7D or 60D, better choice of lenses for wide and cheaper. FF is nice but for macro is a lot more problematic.


No way you eventually take in account/process/digest the idea of the M43 existence :)

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#5 Drew

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:02 PM

The issues with M43 is that one has to use a hack to get good quality, and the DR and ISO performance isn't up to par. So unless one shoots in good light underwater without trying to shoot against the sun/strong back light etc etc, then it's the M43 platform works. And of course, that's also only if one buys the fast SD cards and hope they can handle the speed needed to go 150mbps to achieve that extra resolution.
Plus the lens choices for APS-C goes from circle fisheye to FE macro with the bugeye lens. Something neither FF or M43 has. It's always a bit of a crap shoot trying to recommend a system to anyone without knowing their needs.
I had 4 people ask me the same question last weekend. I don't think I answered them either. :) Some people want someone else to make the choice for them so they can blame that someone if it's the wrong choice. I prefer educating people to make their own decisions based on their needs, so they can't blame anyone but themselves!

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#6 Davide DB

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

The issues with M43...



Usual second hand sentences. Huff

I had 4 people ask me the same question last weekend. I prefer educating people to make their own decisions based on their needs, so they can't blame anyone but themselves!


I imagine the scene:

Posted Image
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#7 Nick Hope

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 08:43 PM

What's "DR performance"?

(ah, dynamic range. thanks)

Edited by Nick Hope, 19 April 2012 - 08:38 PM.


#8 HDVdiver

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 09:23 PM

The issues with M43 is that one has to use a hack to get good quality, and the DR and ISO performance isn't up to par. So unless one shoots in good light underwater without trying to shoot against the sun/strong back light etc etc, then it's the M43 platform works. And of course, that's also only if one buys the fast SD cards and hope they can handle the speed needed to go 150mbps to achieve that extra resolution.


Each to their own, but...

It takes about 90 seconds to apply the hack...and it's the HBR/GOP1 firmware settings which put the GH2 in a league of it's own. If it wasn't for Ptool I wouldn't waste my time with M4/3 video @ factory settings.

Dynamic Range and (sensible) ISO performance is as good as any DSLR currently available...without the line-skipping/moire/low video resolution of the Canons. The general consensus at Personal-view.com from their tests is that DR is about 9 or 10...virtually the same as the 7D...and that's not even for a GOP1 setting.

The SD cards that do the best (100% reliable) job are now the cheapo old tech 30Mbps cards (i.e. not UHS-I).

Generally no problem shooting video againt a strong backlight...with a HBR modified GH2:

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Edited by HDVdiver, 18 April 2012 - 11:57 PM.


#9 Drew

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 01:17 PM

There's subjective and objective criteria.
First the objective:
No doubt @ 100+mbps, the GH2 resolves really nicely and much better than all the Canon DSLRs, all without moire or aliasing. However, underwater, moiré is less of an issue. Still a reef scape looks much better on the 150 mbps GH2 than any of the Canons. However, bring ISO past 640, and the noise starts creeping in. Dynamic range is about 0.5 to 1 stop lower than Canon DSLR off the top end. The way your cyan/greens clip in your pic is a sign of DR limitation. Now sure the way to shoot is to underexpose 0.5 stops then dig the shadows out in post. But that brings noise, no matter how "filmic" it is. It's measurable and been measured on charts for both dynamic range and noise. Then there's the banding issue.
Another issue is lens availability. With APS-C, there's the 10-17 fisheye, 8-16 asph and even the bugeye fisheye lens from Inon. Just a huge variety compared to 4/3.

The subjective criteria includes the issue of using hacks. Like it or not, a hack is still a hack. While the chances of killing the camera are low, it can happen. Then again updating firmware in general can kill the camera, but one is covered by warranty and the other isn't! Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras shoot out of the box pretty well. So there's no need to look for hacks to boost quality, even though there's Magic Lantern for 60D and 5D2.

Basically, APS-C like the 60D/7D have lots of lens choices and shoot decent to good video with good ISO performance. Yes the resolution isn't wonderful but it's good enough. It is the easier choice to choose vs hacks and menu configurations and transcoding with 5DtoRGN for best results etc. One can drop the .mov files straight into the NLE and edit natively (well some NLEs! Posted Image)>

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#10 HDVdiver

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:25 AM

Like I said , each to their own.

Used a Canon 5D2 and a 7D for a year...once the initial positive impression (compared to crappy Sony HDV) wore off they were a total disappointment for video work topside or underwater in terms of image quality, poor resolution, moire/other "low-light"/high ISO video artifacts, noisy IS gyros, no AF for video.

M4/3 is no ISO super star...but I never work higher than 800. With decent lights that limit suits me fine. Very clean and sharp (when hacked @ HBR/GOP1).

The range of lenses for M4/3 might be limited BUT they are optimized for video...and the 7-14mm is optically better (no Canon "pink bias" for one thing) than any of the super-wide Canons I used (14mm, 15mm, 17-40mm; 16-35mm). In fact Canon wide optics were such a disappointment I've gone back to Nikon FX for all my still photography. Now if only Nikon incorporated HBR H.264 Intra in one of their cameras...

In the meanwhile what this humble little camera can do by simply and easily modifying the firmware is incredible. I hope the GH3 will allow color sampling @ 12 bits 4:4:4 (or at least 4:2:2) which would address the main limitation of all current DSLRs (and the new over-priced dedicated 8 -bit video cams) for video work. This is more relevant for color fidelity than DR per se.



I just received an invitation to what promises to be a interesting evening organized by the Australian Cinematographers Society and Zacuto. Basically a comparative "shoot-out" between:

Sony F65, Arri Alexa, RED Epic, Sony FS100, Sony F3, Canon C300, Canon 7D, Panasonic GH2 hacked and non-hacked.

I will post some comments about my personal impressions after the event. There might also be some other Wetpixel aussies there...send me a PM if you might be going.

Edited by HDVdiver, 20 April 2012 - 01:05 AM.


#11 Drew

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:39 AM

Now that's interesting. Do you shoot with AF underwater? and IS too? What kind of results are you getting for wide angle?

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#12 Davide DB

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 09:53 AM

HDVdiver already shed lights on most of the triviality.

I really do not understand why you write so authoritative comments.

I could be mistaken as a fan boy but I really think to each to their own. I have several friends who are happy with the 7D and 60D. Actually for video IMHO the 60D is better because has a flip diplay which makes really the difference shooting on land. As already told you is mainly a lock-in matter or put simply: the pros use Canon so I do the same.
I over react to your sentences because are nearly straw man arguments. On the breadcumbs over the page I read:

Video and Film > Video Gear and Technique >


So Would be nice staying IT. We are speaking about video, underwater video. I wouldn't imagine to argue against a 7D or a 60D speaking about photography but here we are speaking about video. And it's a matter of fact that a GH2, out of the box is equal or better than these canon models. Far better of a 5D MKII. Once hacked, the GH2 is far better of the counterparts. Of course, the final choice is still a matter of personal preferences and tons of other considerations.

You did not bother to ask to OP which videocamera he has (we only know he has an Amphibico housing) nor which kind of shoots/dives he usually does. So I really get annoyed reading your reply. The question could came from Howard Hall or a casual shooter with a bunch of money.

So the correct answer would be: we all agree that today if you want the all around quality of Rafa Herrero videos a proper videocamera is still unbeatable but for most of all a DSRL/EVIL camera could do the job. Out there (and here) is full of pixel peepers but the truth is that for a good video you still have to tell the story.

If the weight is the main concern then a GH2, NEX-5, NEX-7 could be viable options as well the Canon 7D or the 60D. IMHO a FF it's not worth it. Just browse Vimeo and see how many deep video are shot with a NEX-5.

Coming back your sentences:

The issues with M43 is that one has to use a hack to get good quality


False, and to apply a hack you need a couple of minutes. Most of the users bring with them several settings ready to be loaded. Applying a hack it's the same procedure to apply a original firmware update.

DR and ISO performance isn't up to par.


False. Nobody uses 12800 ISO for a real job and both the camera shows noise artefact higher than 1000 ISO. If you are a pixel peeper the internet is full of "A Vs B" video.

only if one buys the fast SD cards and hope they can handle the speed needed to go 150mbps to achieve that extra resolution.


False again. You can go from 44Mbs to 150+Mbs based on your needs. Only the most extreme hacks needs the 95Mbs cards for spanning but ALL the hacks works with the classic Sandisk Extreme 30Mbps.
BTW the GH2 resolution stands to the Canon C300 (According to Philip Bloom)

Plus the lens choices for APS-C goes from circle fisheye to FE macro with the bugeye lens. Something neither FF or M43 has.


Maybe it's true for land shooting but for UW Video is false. (Again: please stay in topic with underwater video).

Looking at the current Nauticam and 10Bar housing port offering you are plenty of choices:

You need really wide? You have the extreme Lumix 8mm or the the rectilinear zoom Lumix 7-14 or the Olympus 9-18

Just wide? The wonderful Oly 12mm f2 that accomodates in the same 8mm port (saving $)

You need macro? You have the Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm, one of the best macro lenses out there.

Then you can use the 14-42mm or the 14mm.

Then there is the final icing on the cake:

I prefer educating people to make their own decisions based on their needs, so they can't blame anyone but themselves!


Unfortunately you forgot to ask to the OP what are his needs.

PS
You need transcoding with 5DtoRGN only with some ... NLE. E.g., with EDIUS you just throw the files in the bin.


Bye

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#13 Drew

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 12:44 PM

M43user,
FYI, the OP asked about the 5D2 in his first post, and I extrapolated from his choice of the 5D2 that he wants ISO performance for video. My answer is already there, plus I also happen to know he uses a FX7.

FWIW, it was you who asked why I didn't mention 4/3 which sent this discussion started the tangent it's on now. And there is nothing wrong with that. It's great that a discussion on the pluses and minuses of any format, which is what HDVdiver and I were doing with 4/3 and APS-C sensors, which included a discussion about lenses etc.

My "authoritative" comments, as you put it, are facts based on things like testing the DR on a chart and ISO tests for judgement on noise. There is nothing to overreact to and I don't see what I've said to be negative about the format. Those things are quantifiable so people can choose what they want with the information given, at least it's easier to absorb vs "I like the filmic grain" or . That includes focal lengths and types of lenses FOR underwater use. A 8-15mm or 10-17 fisheye has no equivalent in 4/3. For an aspherical, I can go from 12 -180mm with 35mm and APS-C and even the bugeye fisheye macro, whose video you can check out here.

Applying a hack is not as easy as updating firmware. Does Panasonic require the use of Ptools or Winebottler software to load the firmware onto the SD? Furthermore I do think that people ought to know a hack has to be reversed otherwise the warranty is voided, should anything go wrong with the camera that requires warranty service. A hack is still a hack.

Now before you think I'm dismissing 4/3, I'm not but you asked why I'm not recommending it and I answered. If you don't like the answer or disagree, that's absolutely within your right. However, there's no need to "overreact" as you say.

As for 5DtoRGB, the ability to get rendering of reds is better with transcoding with Driftwood. Minor shift but noticeable to some.

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#14 HDVdiver

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 06:15 PM

Now that's interesting. Do you shoot with AF underwater? and IS too? What kind of results are you getting for wide angle?



Yes, I prefer to use AF as much as the lighting and/or subject characteristics allow. The AF on the GH2 for video is very fast and accurate...as long as the ambient light is "decent" and not shooting a relatively small, fast moving subject (e.g. sharks) in mid-water. In the latter situation there's always the risk of AF drop-out or "hunting" which can ruin an otherwise good sequence.

Having said that, 80% of the time the speed and accuracy of AF on the 7-14mm is a pleasure to use. I often like to do longish (90 secs -2min) tracking sequences following the subject. Here AF on the GH2 with good fill lighting is excellent. No IS on the 7-14mm but I usually use it for macro if the lens allows it (14-45mm+diopter; 45mm macro)

At the risk of hyperbole, the Lumix 7-14mm is one of the nicest super-wides I have ever used. Only issue is the need to hold the housing very steady to avoid exaggerated up-down instability which the FOV of the lens @7mm tends to really exaggerate. But then again, Mercalli can often help sort this out in post.

I agree that applying/using the hack isn't for everyone...and there is a slight risk of "bricking" your camera IF the power use guidelines aren't followed when updating the firmware (this can also happen when updating official firmware as well). But...for the videographer who is willing to learn the concepts/procedure the potential rewards in terms of attainable image quality from such a small, affordable and easily transportable system are impressive.

Edited by HDVdiver, 20 April 2012 - 06:44 PM.


#15 A.Y.

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:25 PM

kun1

Two reasons you should take a look at Sony SLT cameras - A77, A65, and A57!

1. Currently only A77, A65, and A57 can deliver dSLR-quality high-ISO performance AND 1080 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, and 24p. (Correction added after kkfok's reply: NEX-7 and NEX-5N also have dSLR sensors, IQ, and 1080 60p)

2. Also, only SLT cameras (OR SLT lens adapter) have phase-detection video autofocus like this:

SLT camera with phase-detection video autofocus:

http://www.luminous-...-tracking.shtml

SLT Alpha lens adapter with phase-detection video autofocus - just to show what a filmmaker can do with this type of AF capability since no housing will accommodate this adapter yet:


There are rumors that a full-frame SLT camera, using either the 36mp (D800) sensor (jointly developed by Sony and Nikon) or a brand-new 24mp FF chip will be introduced in the fall; however, no words yet if it'll have 1080 60p capability. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

60 frames per second is gaining ground in the entertainment industry therefore I only shoot 1080 60p nowadays. The best known 60fps presentations are: Doug Trumbull Showscan films, Peter Jackson King Kong attraction at Universal Studio, the new George Lucas Star Wars / Star Tours attraction at Disney parks, and most likely the upcoming James Cameron Avatar 2, and 3 movies.

Edited by A.Y., 21 April 2012 - 10:18 PM.


#16 kkfok

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 03:35 PM

I found quite a few shortcomings in the movie mode of Sony SLT cameras, I think it was designed for those who want to take videos in auto mode.
1. No Custom White Balance in Movie Mode.
2. Cannot use Manual Exposure in Movie Mode unless you change to MF.
3. Custom White Balance Error "9900k M9" under artificial lighting. Nex cameras have the same problem.

#17 A.Y.

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 06:44 PM

I found quite a few shortcomings in the movie mode of Sony SLT cameras, I think it was designed for those who want to take videos in auto mode.
1. No Custom White Balance in Movie Mode.


A77 and A65 Custom White Balance works just fine in Movie mode. Played with an A57 in the store today, but didn't try the CWB in Movie mode yet :)

2. Cannot use Manual Exposure in Movie Mode unless you change to MF.


I'd imagine one can use a combination of Exposure Compensation and AE Shift to get the exposure values you want while maintaining full use of PDAF. Keep in mind that phase-detection autofocus needs f5.6 or faster aperture to work properly just like pretty much all dSLR cameras. AE Lock is also available.

Manual video mode = M. shutter, M. aperture, and M. focus - can't say it doesn't make sense!

3. Custom White Balance Error "9900k M9" under artificial lighting. Nex cameras have the same problem.


With my NEX-5N, when the custom white balance adjustment needed exceeds the maximum CWB range in any given "direction", an error message will alert me to that fact. The screen image will show how much adjustment the camera is able to apply. I can still make adjustments on the "color graph" in directions that are not maxed out. Press the video button and the camera will record at the CWB setting.

This is how much CWB adjustment I can get out of my NEX-5N and CWB does work perfectly in Movie mode. Sorry, I don't have a SLT sample since I'm waiting for the FF version.

Edited by A.Y., 21 April 2012 - 07:25 PM.


#18 Drew

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 10:26 PM

I like the Sony range but if I'm not wrong, only the A65 has a housing from Ikelite? Furthermore, even with 3rd party manufacturers, the number of lenses in A mount are limited. I was considering the A77 but clean 800+ iso is important for me and it didn't do as well as the Canikon crowd.

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#19 HDVdiver

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Posted 22 April 2012 - 04:59 PM

Just a quick update for those who might be considering a GH2. These links might be useful information:

http://osgfilms.com/...-panasonic-gh2/

http://www.personal-...n-gh2-and-7d/p1

http://www.dpreview....asonicdmcgh2/12

The last link is to a very comprehensive review of the camera. It also has an interesting "interactive" comparison of the DR with other cameras.

#20 Drew

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 12:08 AM

Thanks. Since the OP did ask about video I think it's more important to note that the image on the GH2 is sort of "baked in", with no way of altering the look too much for post (ie flattening the curve/gamma etc). Canon has the Marvell and Cinestyle picture styles which allow very flat images for post.
That said, the GH2 fields, due to the high bit rate, allow for better deep field shots, due to the detail. The 5D3 sorta catches up once it's tossed in post and sharpened/graded, 5D2 looks terrible sharpened too much due to the aliasing!

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